Environmental Protection Review Canada
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How to Request a Review of a Compliance Order ("CO")

You must request a review within 30 days of receiving your copy of a written CO or within 30 days of receiving an oral order. The 30-day time limit for filing a request for a review may be extended by the Chief Review Officer in circumstances where it would be in the public interest to do so. In general, however, you should not rely on receiving an extension. The sooner the request for a review is made to the Chief Review Officer, the sooner the CO will be reviewed.

The request for a review must be sent to the Chief Review Officer at Environmental Protection Review Canada. The application must be in writing and signed by the person seeking review or that person's representative (e.g., lawyer). The request must include the following information:

  • The name and address for service of the person requesting the review;
  • A copy of the CO you wish to have reviewed;
  • The reasons why you are requesting a review of the CO in sufficient detail for the Chief Review Officer to understand your grounds of objection;
  • Whether or not you will be applying to suspend the operation of the CO pursuant to subsection 258(2) of CEPA, 1999.

At the same time a request for review is filed with the Chief Review Officer, the applicant should serve a copy of the request on the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. This should be done by serving the documents on the appropriate regional Environment and Climate Change Canada Office. This would generally be the Office where the Enforcement Officer who issued the CO is based. You may wish to consult the directory of addresses.

To expedite the review, a request may be filed with the Chief Review Officer in electronic format by sending it to this email address: eprc-rpec@eprc-rpec.gc.ca. Please note that a request for review, and any other filing made in any proceeding, must be received by Environmental Protection Review Canada in hard copy.

What Happens After a Review is Requested

After Environmental Protection Review Canada receives the request for a review, it will send a letter or an email to the applicant confirming receipt and assigning a case number to the file. This number should be used on all documents or other material filed during the course of the review.

After officials at Environment and Climate Change Canada receive the copy of a request for review that the applicant has served on them, they will gather together the portion of their files that relate to the CO. They will then disclose this material to the applicant and send a copy of the material to Environmental Protection Review Canada. Thus, the applicant will have all of the material from Environment and Climate Change Canada that is relevant to the CO. Environmental Protection Review Canada will add the information to its public record.

In most cases, Environmental Protection Review Canada will contact the applicant (or applicant's representative) to arrange a pre-hearing conference. The pre-hearing conference provides an opportunity to clarify issues, establish a timetable and the procedures that will govern the particular case, and decide how confidential information (if any) or expert witnesses will be handled. For many cases, the pre-hearing conference will be a telephone conference call presided over by a Review Officer. In more complex cases, the pre-hearing conference may involve a meeting of the parties and their representatives with a Review Officer. After the pre-hearing conference, the Review Officer will usually issue directions regarding procedures, timing and any other matters that have been dealt with before the hearing. The directions will complement the Draft Rules of Procedure and Practice Directives that guide the Review Officers.

In some cases, the areas of dispute between Environment and Climate Change Canada and the applicant for a review may be suitable for mediation. The Chief Review Officer will assign a mediator, who will generally not be the Review Officer assigned to the case, to conduct a mediation in the hope of settling the matter without a hearing. Even where a mediation does not settle all the issues under dispute, it may allow the applicant and Environment and Climate Change Canada to agree on what matters should be brought before the Review Officer at a hearing.

Application to Stay (suspend) a CO

A request for a review does not suspend the operation of the CO. The Review Officer, however, has the discretion to stay (i.e., suspend) the CO until the review is complete. In doing so, the Review Officer may impose reasonable conditions that are consistent with the protection of the environment and public safety.

An applicant who seeks to have a CO stayed pending the review hearing  must file a written application to stay the CO, in whole or in part, with Environmental Protection Review Canada. The application should state the reasons why a stay is requested, and should be supported by an affidavit that sets out, among other matters the applicant considers relevant, the following:

  • The reasons why the applicant believes that there is a serious issue to be resolved on the review;
  • The reasons why the applicant would suffer irreparable harm if the stay is not granted;
  • The reasons why the balance of convenience favours the granting of the stay. In addressing the balance of convenience, the affidavit should set out the reasons why the granting of the stay is consistent with the protection of the environment and public safety.

Environment and Climate Change Canada may file an affidavit in reply to the application for a stay. Environmental Protection Review Canada may permit cross-examination on the affidavits as necessary to allow a decision to be made. Environmental Protection Review Canada may also make arrangements for the parties to make oral representations about the application for a stay. In some circumstances, these representations will be made by a telephone conference call. In other cases, the application will be dealt with in writing.

The applicant may also apply for an interim stay of the CO, pending resolution of the application for a stay. An application for an interim stay should be made in writing, setting out reasons why an interim stay should be granted. An application for an interim stay will be considered either in a telephone conference call among parties and the Review Officer or be based on the written documents. For additional information regarding stays, the applicant should consult the Practice Directives or call the EPRC.

The Hearing

The applicant for a review is entitled to appear in person (or through a representative) before the Review Officer. Counsel will appear on behalf of Environment Canada and the presiding Review Officer may also be advised by counsel. The hearings will often be held near where the applicant resides or where the matter that gave rise to the CO is located. Hearings may also be heard in writing, by telephone conference call, by video conference. Applicants are entitled to present their evidence in either official language and be heard by a Review Officer fluent in that language. Where the applicant or witnesses wish to present evidence in a language other than French or English, Environmental Protection Review Canada must be notified and the applicant must provide expert translators.

Environmental Protection Review Canada will attempt to schedule hearings as quickly as possible to suit the convenience of the parties. The Review Officer will issue a decision within 15 days after the end of the hearing. The Minister of the Environment and Climate Change or the applicant may appeal the decision of the Review Officer in respect of a CO to the Federal Court - Trial Division within 30 days.

Additional Information
Applicants for a review of a CO should also refer to the Draft Rules of Procedure and Practice Directives. Additional questions can be directed to Environmental Protection Review Canada.
Environmental Protection Review Canada
240 Sparks Street, 4th Floor West
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0X8
Canada

Tel: (613) 995-7599
Fax: (613) 907-1337
Email: eprc-rpec@eprc-rpec.gc.ca